Intelligence, positional play and game awareness are all outstanding skills to poses in a football game. But without the necessary skill with the ball at your feet, you're never going to make that killer pass or finish off that flowing move as often as you'd like.
Improve your technique when striking through the ball and you'll simultaneously boost your passing, crossing and shooting.
Here's five drills, designed by current Chelsea Technical Skills coach and Head Coach at My Personal Football Coach Saul Isaksson Hurst, to help you develop better ball-striking abilities.
It's a staple of the game and the result of 95% of what you do on the ball, but passing is something many players get wrong all too often. Adding a firm, driven pass into your repertoire is a great way to developing a passing range like Gerrard or Pirlo – plus it's practice can be pretty simple.
In fact it's one you can try at home. Find a wall (ideally not your neighbours) and practice driving your laces through the ball (make sure it's moving – it will be during a game), practising on both feet.
Those ex-international stars named above have honed their skills through endless practice, so keep working on both feet even when you think you've nailed it.
Speaking of hours of practice, one man who mastered the free-kick better than most was David Beckham. Thanks to the unprecedented level of curve he exacted on the ball, he caused chaos in opposition defences for years.
To emulate him, grab yourself a ball, a goal and an obstacle (maybe a bin or your older brother). Practice getting that whip on the ball, using your approach, foot position and follow-through to get it just right.
Again, practice is what elevates your game – so be prepared to put the hard yards in on both feet.
Long Lofted Pass
Back to Pirlo and his like-minded band of outstanding pass-merchants, the long, glided pass is something every midfield maestro should be adding to their game.
You can do this in pairs at your next training session. Stand a good distance apart and add an obstacle in the middle (it could be a third player whose job it is to intercept or close you down).
Loft the ball to one another, and make it progressively harder by taking a step-back every time you successfully nail a lofted pass.
Volleys are a true yardstick of a player's technical ability. Mastering them will not only grab you some more goals, but impress your team mates and onlookers at the side of the pitch.
Patience and timing are key. Our eyes light up when we see a juicy volley coming our way, but that can lead us to snatch at it or take it on too early and spoon it into the stands.
Grab a teammate and get him to feed you with a series of throws that you can then convert into volleys into a goal. Do ten each, then you could ramp up the difficulty by converting crosses rather than simple throws (which is also a great way for you and your partner to practice two skills in the same drill).
All these passing-based skills are great, but you'll be leaving empty handed if you don't have the correct technique to finish it off when shooting.
Setup a box of cones around a corner of the penalty box – this acts as your shooting box. Take a big first touch, then dash towards the ball and smash it towards the goal on your first touch.
It's essential you hit the ball first time and do so as you sprint towards the ball. Defenders won't be so obliging in games, so don't create unrealistic environments in training.
Get more tips to grow your game
You'll find ample more video techniques to help improve your skills in the Pitchero Football Academy.
If you want even more, head over to My Personal Football Coach and try out the Coach's Pass. Headed up by ex-Tottenham and current Chelsea skills coach Saul Isaksson-Hurst, MYFC have an outstanding collection of video tutorials to develop your skills.
Plus, if you click the banner below, you get a sweet exclusive discount to epic football drills courtesy of our partnership with MPFC.